I write essays to clear my mind. I write fiction to open my heart.
Every Christmas, all around Ghana, there are tons of these parties and they are full of everything that exists in human life in Ghana and worldwide.
I read recently that the problem with stereotypes isn't that they are inaccurate, but that they're incomplete. And this captures perfectly what I think about contemporary African literature. The problem isn't that it's inaccurate, it's that it's incomplete.
The big ideas always come in flashes. I don't really craft stories that much. I genuinely don't know where these people come from, and I've often wondered if writing is just a socially acceptable form of madness.
Being a twin, and being my sister's twin, is such a defining part of my life that I wouldn't know how to be who I am, including a writer, without that being somehow at the centre.
That's what makes writer's block so painful. You think the well has run dry, maybe somewhere in the heavens the tap has been turned off. That's beyond frightening.
When I'm working, I'm so narrowly focused on sound, language, rhythm, flow, that I rarely feel the emotion of the text. It's only after - long after - I've finished a piece that I can experience in any way its emotional charge.
As a novelist, I ask of myself only that I tell the truth and that I tell it beautifully.
The summer I finished my first novel 'Ghana Must Go,' I drove across west Africa: from Accra to Lome to Cotonou to the deliciously named Ouagadougou.
The writer presents himself to the blank page not with an open passport but an open heart.
I'm not sure where I'm from! I was born in London. My father's from Ghana but lives in Saudi Arabia. My mother's Nigerian but lives in Ghana. I grew up in Boston.
When writing screenplays, it's a matter of remembering to leave off the page anything and everything that doesn't appear on the screen.
So often, literature about African people is conflated with literature about African politics, as if the state were somehow of greater import or interest than the individual.
As a young woman, I had been seeking experience, knowledge, truth, the stuff writers need in their work, but when the artist actually kicked in, I came to understand that in this romantic relationship I was not free to be myself, or to find myself, in order to begin the true work I needed to do.
I live in Rome and five minutes from my flat is a church where you can walk in and see this beautiful Caravaggio. Just the way this man uses dark paint: dark to create dark to create dark, the layering of the darkness in his work. I just race home: I want to create!
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